President Video Message: Announcing Secretary Leon Panetta as Next Compelling Perspectives Speaker

A message sent to members of the Lehigh campus community.

Photography by

Christa Neu

Videography by

Taylor Stakes and Christa Neu

President Helble discusses the importance of supporting an educational environment where we cultivate the art and skill of listening and “engaging with friends, classmates, faculty, and speakers who may see the world differently, who may have different ideas about the range of challenges the world currently faces…”

"That is the spirit that underlies the Compelling Perspectives series of conversations, which began in late October of this year with a discussion on national security with Theresa May, former prime minister and former leader of the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom.

"I’m pleased to announce that Secretary Leon Panetta will be our second Compelling Perspectives speaker this academic year, coming to campus on Tuesday, January 30."


Transcript of video:

As I said in my recent message to the campus community, for many at Lehigh, the pain caused by the horrific October 7th terrorist attack in Israel and the tragic loss of life of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians is not some distant story.

For Jewish and for Muslim members of our community, concerns of violence in the face of a national rise in Islamophobic and antisemitic acts this past month are real.

At this challenging moment, our community must remain a space for learning from one another, for fostering understanding and acceptance amid ongoing uncertainty.

I ask everyone to remember that that sense of kindness and mutual respect for one another must remain the foundation of our Lehigh community. I've spoken often of the importance of our campus being a place where we can learn across differences, where we can learn from those who have different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This means taking classes that might push us outside of our comfort zones. This means engaging with friends, classmates, faculty, and speakers who may see the world differently, who may have different ideas about the range of challenges the world currently faces, or the best solutions to the problems at hand.

That is the spirit that underlies the "Compelling Perspective" series of conversations, which began in late October of this year with the discussion on national security with Theresa May, former Prime Minister and former leader of the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom.

I'm pleased to announce that Secretary Leon Panetta will be our second "Compelling Perspective" speaker this academic year, coming to campus on Tuesday, January 30th. Secretary Panetta served in the Obama Administration as the 23rd U.S. Secretary of Defense, and also served as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

He began his long and distinguished public service career as a First Lieutenant in the Army and served in Congress for 16 years, in addition to his service in multiple U.S. presidential administrations, and he'll be bringing that expertise and a different perspective to our second campus conversation on the topic of national security.

Finally, as we enter the final stretch of the fall semester, we will come together as a campus at a community conversation on November 20th. It will be an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the academic year, discuss the implementation of the Lehigh Strategic Plan, Inspiring the Future Makers, focusing on the ways in which we will invest in strengths in student outcomes, teaching and research, and to ask questions about our plans and progress to date. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

Photography by

Christa Neu

Videography by

Taylor Stakes and Christa Neu

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